I had a really wonderful experience recently watching one of my favorite movies with someone who loves it just as much as I do. And, really, that’s rare, to know someone who loves a movie in the same sort of uncompromised, honest, passionate way that you do. That pure love. So you’ll never feel insecure about admitting how much you adore the movie in front of that person, for fear of sounding too intense, because they get it. They get you. You can watch together and know that the other person feels every moment that you feel, laughs at the same times and gets choked up at the same scenes.
My long-distance movie soulmate and I watched The Fabulous Baker Boys the other night, which was wonderful for all the reasons I mentioned already, but also because it’s the movie that really helped connect us to begin with. Back when we met, and she discovered my love for this movie – based largely on the name of this site and my preference for rambling on about it on social media all the time – she knew we’d be fast friends, and I quickly realized the same. When you really love a movie – I mean, really love it – explaining why objectively to others can sometimes be difficult, even if you’re spent years implementing critical analysis. That’s because the movie has spent years tangling itself up with your very soul. So watching that kind of movie with a fellow fanatic releases you from the pressure of feeling you need to justify anything to anyone; instead you can relax, watch together, and marvel at the moments that speak directly to both your souls.
My movie buddy and I like to joke that we’re basically female and male versions of each other in so many ways. We’ve been through similar experiences, including things that could’ve broken us but didn’t. So it’s no surprise we share tastes in movies, music, and all manner of things. We all want to feel understood, and when we know someone who gets us, because they get those experiences and resulting emotions, it just feels safe. Like home. And that’s exactly how a movie like The Fabulous Baker Boys feels: like home. I revisit that world often, the world of Susie Diamond, Jack and Frank Baker and their nightly excursions through the smoky late ’80s Seattle jazz club scene. And this time, watching it with someone who feels the same way, the experience was even sweeter.
“Frank, to you ‘Feelings’ may be goddamn filet mignon, but to me, it’s parsley. It’s less than parsley.” Susie’s famous slam of the standard “Feelings” is always one of my favorite, laugh out loud moments in the film. I’ve never been able to hear the song without hearing Susie’s garnish-based takedown. The other night, as movie soulmate and I watched, I also remembered that the film itself is all about feeling feelings – not “Feelings” but feelings. We even talked about how these three characters have a hard time admitting their feelings, either for each other or for how they feel about the paths they’re traveling. The Baker brothers in particular have decades of bottled up emotions simmering at the surface. Susie enters their lives and turns everything upside down, just by her very nature. She’s a force to be reckoned with and she calls out the brothers on their avoidance and denial tactics. She’s the movie’s great motivating force, exacting change on these men’s lives through her own hard-won understanding that when you keep burying all the bad feelings away deep inside yourself, sometimes that winds up being all that you are – a shell of a person who can’t feel the good because they can’t process the bad.
So we definitely felt some feelings during this rewatch. It’s such a beautiful movie, so melancholic and patient, witty and sexy, thoughtful and compassionate. Just a perfect film for people who relate deeply to the kinds of feelings Susie and the Baker Boys experience. If you love a movie with the same sort of obsessive passion that we do for this movie, get yourself a movie partner who gets your tastes. There’s so much negativity out there in general, but also in the online/global film community. The best way to combat snark and ugly hot takes is to appreciate a piece of art with someone who is fully capable of appreciating it as well. I’m incredibly fortunate to have that with my fabulous movie buddy.